News & Analysis

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    The War Nerd: More proof the US defense industry has nothing to do with defending America

    KUWAIT CITY—This has been a classic week in the defense procurement industry. The armed services are trying to boost their worst aircraft, the totally worthless F-35, by trashing their best, the simple, effective, proven A-10 Warthog. The A-10 is popular enough that the USAF had to come up with a reason for wanting to get rid of it, and the one it produced is the sort of thing that would make any psych-therapist chuckle with glee: The…
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    Listen to this week’s PandoLIVE

    This week’s PandoLIVE was taped in an LA hotel room as we prepared for the last PandoMonthly of the year. For that reason, there were no listener calls and none of my fantastic taste in music. Instead Sarah and I talked about some of the highlights of the past 12 months of Pando, including a run-down of the ten things we least expected to happen. We’ll be back live in the Rackspace studio next week! … SPONSOR MESSAGE: Free Hosting!  Visit 
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    Open Garden raises $10.8M to build a “Second Internet” — for the people, by the people

    Open Garden has raised $10.8 million to create the next Internet. And as crazy as that sounds, thanks to the success of its FireChat peer-to-peer messaging service, it might just work. Instead of sending messages through an Internet connection or cellphone network, FireChat uses the Bluetooth and WiFi radios on every smartphone to create its own “mesh network,” which can then transfer data between the networks’ members without requiring any external infrastructure. FireChat rose to fame earlier this year when pro-democracy…
  5. Hello my name is

    Flowboard presentation product renamed FlowVella, ushers in the post-tablet era of digital storytelling

    What’s in a name? Flowboard, the upstart presentation and storytelling platform, is betting today that a beloved product is more important than the branding with which it’s adorned. To that end, the company is changing its name to FlowVella – with inspiration from the short story format, novella. The move was motivated in part by recently a trademark dispute with Flipboard, the mobile-news reading platform of similar name. But, according to Brent Brookler, CEO of FlowVella…
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    The Islamic State joins North Korea as a surprising suspect in a cyberattack

    A new report from Citizen Lab claims the so-called Islamic State could be responsible for a cyber attack meant to reveal the location of members of the “Raqqah is being Slaughtered Silently” (RSS) advocacy group for reporting on the Islamic State’s human rights violations in occupied Syria. “Though we are unable to conclusively attribute the attack to ISIS or its supporters, a link to ISIS is plausible,” Citizen Lab says in the report. “The malware used in the attack differs substantially from campaigns…
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    A popular phone-breaking tool has been updated to bypass iCloud’s heightened security measures

    A tool used by law enforcement to gain access to Apple’s iCloud service has been updated to bypass the two-factor authentication feature, which requires a randomly-generated code in addition to a user’s normal password. Apple introduced this feature after iCloud was hacked in August. The tool only works if law enforcement — or a hacker who purchases the software for themselves — can already gain access to iCloud via some other method. The most common way to gain…
  9. Overheard

    “Here, we need to distinguish between threat and capability—the ability to steal gossipy emails from a not-so-great protected computer network is not the same thing as being able to carry out physical, 9/11-style attacks in 18,000 locations simultaneously. I can’t believe I’m saying this. I can’t believe I have to say this.”

    — Peter Singer discussing the Sony hack with Motherboard

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    Bustle raises $15.5m to “double down” on strategy, hire more (better paid) journalists

    Women’s lifestyle site Bustle has closed a $15.5m funding round, lead by new investors General Catalyst. The news was shared with Bustle’s staff this morning by founder (and occasional Pando contributor) Bryan Goldberg. Goldberg told me yesterday that the round was “very oversubscribed,” with all of Bustle’s previous investors participating alongside General Catalyst. Well, almost all previous investors: As we reported back in March, Google Ventures pulled out of the company, whispering to journalists that they considered some of Goldberg’s public statements…
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    BandPage is helping artists make more money than ever off Spotify — and it has the numbers to prove it

    Featuring your music on Spotify is the ultimate devil’s bargain. On one hand, it allows artists to capitalize on one of the most powerful distribution platforms in the world, making their music available to millions of fans around the globe at the click of a button. On the other hand, the royalty payments doled out by Spotify, often determined by opaque agreements with record labels, amount to mere fractions of pennies per play, stoking the ire of performers both big and small.…
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    Facebook Product Designer Bobby Goodlatte joins Greylock as investor and Designer-in-Residence

    Greylock Partners is deepening its investment and startup advisory bench with the addition of former Facebook Product Designer and active angel investor Bobby Goodlatte as Designer-in-Residence and associate on its consumer investment team. “The Greylock team is filled with entrepreneurs who have strong product and operating backgrounds; people who have worked in the trenches in companies building towards significant scale,” says Greylock partner Goodlatte friend Josh Elman. “We focus on this because we believe this is the ideal background for partnering…
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    US said to blame North Korea for Sony hack

    Numerous reports claim that an investigation by the United States government has shown that North Korea was indeed behind the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which had planned to release a comedy flick in which its main characters assassinate Kim Jong Un. (The film’s release has since been canceled.) [Source: The New York Times]
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    The New York City Council shows how hard it is to regulate drones

    Competing bills introduced to the New York City Council highlight the difficulties legislators encounter when seeking to regulate drone use in their jurisdictions. One, introduced by Councilman Dan Garodnick, would prevent almost anyone from flying drones within the city’s limits. The only exception would be made for law enforcement officials who receive a warrant to use one of the unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance. “The technology has gotten ahead of our regulations, and there are real privacy concerns here,” Garodnick…
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    Amazon offers one-hour delivery in Manhattan

    Amazon will now offer one-hour delivery on “tens of thousands of daily essentials” in Manhattan as part of its Prime Now program available to Amazon Prime subscribers. The service will have its own application, and two-hour delivery of certain items will be free; consumers will have to pay $7.99 for the touted one-hour delivery. [Source: Amazon]
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    eBay enterprise CTO Brent Peters joins InsideSales.com. Aims to scale the hit SaaS platform for an IPO

    It’s the law of the land in Silicon Valley that talent flows from old, slow-growth companies to younger, more agile, more disruptive upstarts. EBay is nothing if not a stodgy and slow-moving operation today, so it should come as no surprise to learn that Brent Peters, CTO of the 32,000-person ecommerce behemoth’s enterprise unit, is leaving to join a 600-person startup rocket ship. What might be more surprising is that this high-flying upstart is in the enterprise SaaS space, not…
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    Five months later, Gawker updates its privacy policy to disclose use of affiliate links

    Back in July, I pointed out that Gawker appeared to be using affiliate service Skimlinks to hide advertising links inside its editorial content. That fact, however, was curiously absent from its privacy statement, an apparent violation of FTC guidelines. Now, a mere five months later, Gawker has announced a new privacy policy to disclose its use of affiliates. Here’s the relevant part of the new policy: And here’s the old one: Kudos to Gawker, I suppose, for…
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The Week in Review